James Brooks

Democrat gubernatorial candiate Mark Begich, a former U.S. Senator for Alaska and former mayor of Anchorage, speaks during an interview in Juneau on Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
Democrat gubernatorial candiate Mark Begich, a former U.S. Senator for Alaska and former mayor of Anchorage, speaks during an interview in Juneau on Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
An unused sexual assault evidence kit, colloquially known as a “rape kit,” is seen Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. (James Brooks | Juneau Empire file)
                                An unused sexual assault evidence kit, colloquially known as a “rape kit,” is seen Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. (James Brooks | Juneau Empire file)
An unused sexual assault evidence kit, colloquially known as a “rape kit,” is seen Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. (James Brooks | Juneau Empire file)
                                An unused sexual assault evidence kit, colloquially known as a “rape kit,” is seen Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. (James Brooks | Juneau Empire file)
Rep. Jason Grenn, I-Anchorage (left) speaks to Rep. Dan Saddler, R-Eagle River (standing center), Rep. George Rauscher, R-Sutton (standing right) and Rep. Lora Reinbold, R-Eagle River (seated) before the final vote Friday, May 11, 2018 on House Bill 44. (Brian Hild | Alaska House Majority)

Walker makes second legislative endorsement

Walker’s first endorsement was of another independent candidate.

Rep. Jason Grenn, I-Anchorage (left) speaks to Rep. Dan Saddler, R-Eagle River (standing center), Rep. George Rauscher, R-Sutton (standing right) and Rep. Lora Reinbold, R-Eagle River (seated) before the final vote Friday, May 11, 2018 on House Bill 44. (Brian Hild | Alaska House Majority)
Republican Mike Dunleavy, left, and Democrat Mark Begich, right, are the two leading candidates in the race to replace incumbent independent Gov. Bill Walker. (Composite image)
Republican Mike Dunleavy, left, and Democrat Mark Begich, right, are the two leading candidates in the race to replace incumbent independent Gov. Bill Walker. (Composite image)

Legislature’s new ethics law extends to private discussions

A new conflict-of-interest law covers discussions behind closed doors, not just public debate.

Election officials wait for voters in the Municipal Election at the Nugget Mall on Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018. Estimates indicate Alaska has registered 109 percent of its eligible voters. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Alaska has more registered voters than eligible residents

Alaska likely has tens of thousands of extra people on its voting rolls.

Election officials wait for voters in the Municipal Election at the Nugget Mall on Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018. Estimates indicate Alaska has registered 109 percent of its eligible voters. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)
A sign supporting the Stand for Salmon ballot initiative lies on the grass near the intersection of Bridge Access Road and Kenai Spur Highway on Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018 in Kenai, Alaska. (Erin Thompson | Peninsula Clarion File)

Ballot Measure 1 spending tops state-level record

The electoral fight over Ballot Measure 1 is the most expensive state-level campaign in Alaska history, according to new filings from the Alaska Public Offices… Continue reading

A sign supporting the Stand for Salmon ballot initiative lies on the grass near the intersection of Bridge Access Road and Kenai Spur Highway on Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018 in Kenai, Alaska. (Erin Thompson | Peninsula Clarion File)
In this April 20, 2018 file photo, a marijuana plant is seen on Hippie Hill in San Francisco. (Josh Edelson | The Associated Press File)

New Alaska marijuana tax rate could benefit fans of edibles

More tax changes are possible in the next Legislative session.

In this April 20, 2018 file photo, a marijuana plant is seen on Hippie Hill in San Francisco. (Josh Edelson | The Associated Press File)
Hotel workers strike for a wage increase in front of a Marriott hotel Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018, in San Francisco. Alaska’s minimum wage is set to rise to $9.89 per hour on Jan. 1. (Ben Margot | The Associated Press)

Alaska’s minimum wage to rise Jan. 1

Inflation increased, so the wage will rise.

Hotel workers strike for a wage increase in front of a Marriott hotel Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018, in San Francisco. Alaska’s minimum wage is set to rise to $9.89 per hour on Jan. 1. (Ben Margot | The Associated Press)
Former state Senate Mike Dunleavy, left, Gov. Bill Walker, center, and former U.S. Senator Mark Begich shake hands after a debate at a Juneau Chamber of Commerce luncheon at Centennial Hall on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

New poll finds Begich, Dunleavy tied for support

The governor race between Mike Dunleavy and Mark Begich is tighter than ever. A new tracking poll from Alaska Survey Research shows the two leading… Continue reading

Former state Senate Mike Dunleavy, left, Gov. Bill Walker, center, and former U.S. Senator Mark Begich shake hands after a debate at a Juneau Chamber of Commerce luncheon at Centennial Hall on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)
Gov. Bill Walker meets with House District 33 independent candidate Chris Dimond and his supporters at the IBEW union hall to give his endorsement to Dimond on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Governor endorses Dimond for House seat

Gov. Bill Walker is out of his race for re-election, but he is jumping into others.

Gov. Bill Walker meets with House District 33 independent candidate Chris Dimond and his supporters at the IBEW union hall to give his endorsement to Dimond on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

State departments have an eye toward budget hikes

Legislative and governor candidates have vowed across the state to further cut Alaska’s budget, but many state departments drafting their budget requests for the coming… Continue reading

In this Sept. 6 file photo, Democratic nominee for governor of Alaska Mark Begich, right, speaks as Gov. Bill Walker listens during a chamber of commerce gubernatorial candidate forum on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, in Juneau, Alaska, On Friday, Oct. 19, Walker announced he was dropping his bid for re-election, though his name remains on the ballot. He threw his support behind Begich, who will face Republican Mike Dunleavy in November. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)

Walker’s support for Begich is ‘narrow’

When he gave a speech announcing his withdrawal from the election, Gov. Bill Walker told his audience that they should support Democratic candidate Mark Begich.… Continue reading

In this Sept. 6 file photo, Democratic nominee for governor of Alaska Mark Begich, right, speaks as Gov. Bill Walker listens during a chamber of commerce gubernatorial candidate forum on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, in Juneau, Alaska, On Friday, Oct. 19, Walker announced he was dropping his bid for re-election, though his name remains on the ballot. He threw his support behind Begich, who will face Republican Mike Dunleavy in November. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)
Sen. Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage, speaks to his amendment to the state’s operating budget to inflation-proof the Alaska Permanent Fund in the Senate at the Capitol on Thursday, April 12, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire file)

Democratic Anchorage senator declaims pro-Dunleavy ads

A Democratic senator from Anchorage is asking a campaign backing Republican governor candidate Mike Dunleavy to stop using his voice and picture in pro-Dunleavy ads.… Continue reading

Sen. Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage, speaks to his amendment to the state’s operating budget to inflation-proof the Alaska Permanent Fund in the Senate at the Capitol on Thursday, April 12, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire file)

Frost-free Halloween forecast this year

There’s no snow on the pumpkin, and there might not be any frost, either. Juneau’s abnormally warm October set a record Sunday as temperatures reached… Continue reading

In this Oct. 2, 2018, file photo, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talks with Jeffrey Goldberg, editor in chief of The Atlantic, during The Atlantic Festival, in Washington. On Monday via Twitter, Clinton endorsed 17 Democratic governor candidates, including Alaska’s Mark Begich (Alex Brandon | The Associated Press)

Hillary Clinton endorses Begich for governor

Hillary Clinton has endorsed Mark Begich for governor. In an announcement Monday morning on Twitter, Clinton announced her support for a slate of Democratic governor… Continue reading

In this Oct. 2, 2018, file photo, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talks with Jeffrey Goldberg, editor in chief of The Atlantic, during The Atlantic Festival, in Washington. On Monday via Twitter, Clinton endorsed 17 Democratic governor candidates, including Alaska’s Mark Begich (Alex Brandon | The Associated Press)
Newly designed stickers by local artist Pat Race wait for voters during early voting at the State Office Building on Monday, Oct. 22, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

In first two days, Juneau leads Alaska in early voting

Juneau is leading the state in early voting, according to preliminary figures from the Alaska Division of Election. According to the division, 240 registered voters… Continue reading

Newly designed stickers by local artist Pat Race wait for voters during early voting at the State Office Building on Monday, Oct. 22, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)
Democratis gubernatorial candidate Mark Begich watches as Thunder Mountain High School senior students Tristan Weissmuller, center, and Briannah Letter work on a candidate voter page during their government class on Friday, Oct. 26, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Fog leads to slimmer Juneau campaign stop for Mark Begich

Mark Begich is trying to defeat Mike Dunleavy, but he first had to beat Juneau’s morning fog. Alaska’s Democratic governor candidate arrived in Juneau Friday… Continue reading

Democratis gubernatorial candidate Mark Begich watches as Thunder Mountain High School senior students Tristan Weissmuller, center, and Briannah Letter work on a candidate voter page during their government class on Friday, Oct. 26, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
FILE - In this Aug. 19, 2018 file photo, Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike Dunleavy, second from left, stands near his campaign table at a meet-and-greet event in the lobby of Anchorage Baptist Temple in Anchorage, Alaska. As a kid growing up on the East Coast, Mike Dunleavy dreamed of coming to Alaska, of hunting caribou, fishing in wild streams and losing himself in the state’s vast, open spaces. Now, after nearly 35 years in his adopted state, the conservative Republican is vying to become Alaska’s next governor. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)
                                In this Aug. 19 file photo, Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike Dunleavy, second from left, stands near his campaign table at a meet-and-greet event in the lobby of Anchorage Baptist Temple in Anchorage. (Becky Bohrer | The Associated Press File)

Arctic Slope Regional Corporation endorses Dunleavy

Republican governor candidate Mike Dunleavy picked up the endorsement of another major regional Native corporation on Friday when Arctic Slope Regional Corporation announced its endorsement.… Continue reading

FILE - In this Aug. 19, 2018 file photo, Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike Dunleavy, second from left, stands near his campaign table at a meet-and-greet event in the lobby of Anchorage Baptist Temple in Anchorage, Alaska. As a kid growing up on the East Coast, Mike Dunleavy dreamed of coming to Alaska, of hunting caribou, fishing in wild streams and losing himself in the state’s vast, open spaces. Now, after nearly 35 years in his adopted state, the conservative Republican is vying to become Alaska’s next governor. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)
                                In this Aug. 19 file photo, Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike Dunleavy, second from left, stands near his campaign table at a meet-and-greet event in the lobby of Anchorage Baptist Temple in Anchorage. (Becky Bohrer | The Associated Press File)
University of Alaska Southeast chancellor Rick Caulfield speaks to the Juneau Chamber of Commerce at its weekly luncheon on Oct. 25, 2018. (James Brooks | Juneau Empire)

UAS chancellor updates Juneau Chamber on university’s progress

University of Alaska Southeast Chancellor Rick Caulfield shared good news with the Juneau Chamber of Commerce Thursday: The number of new students is rising, and… Continue reading

University of Alaska Southeast chancellor Rick Caulfield speaks to the Juneau Chamber of Commerce at its weekly luncheon on Oct. 25, 2018. (James Brooks | Juneau Empire)